Been searching online for hours but still can't seem to find the right cover? These five tips will help you make
a smart choice for your needs.
We’ll help get you across some things most young and healthy people should consider. But everyone’s health needs
are different, so make sure you consider what will be best for you and your personal circumstances. If you’re
not sure, contact us and we’ll help you
Need to know info
Basic cover is the cheapest option, but you may get more bang for your buck with higher levels of cover.
Make sure you understand what’s actually covered in the policies you’re shopping for. You don’t want to get
Getting health cover for tax reasons? Make sure you understand how it works.
Getting health cover for medical reasons? Consider what waiting periods you may need to serve.
Alright! Let's get into those tips...
1. Considering basic hospital cover? Make sure you understand what that means
Basic Hospital is the minimum coverage tier a health fund can offer. That means it’s friendly on the wallet, but
not everything is covered.
It’s also worth noting that even for treatments you’ve got cover for, you may still have a large out-of-pocket
expense (your cover won’t pay the bill in full, so you have to pay the difference).
That said, one big upside to HBF’s Basic
Hospital Plus is that it includes accident cover. That means in the
event of many accidents that send you to hospital, you’ll be covered for the treatments you need. You can read
all about what accident cover includes here:
So if you’re simply looking for the cheapest option – or just getting hospital cover for tax reasons – basic
could be a good option. But if you’ve got specific medical concerns, or you want cover that’s more likely to…
cover… the bill, you should look at the higher levels too.
2. Why to look beyond basic cover
At its core, health insurance is a safety net for when the unexpected happens. But if you’re not well covered,
you could fall through that net.
For example, you might find that a health fund's basic hospital cover excludes common services like having your tonsils removed.
If you needed your tonsils out and didn't have cover for that service, you’d pay for treatment out of your own pocket if you attended a private hospital.
Alternatively, you could wait a long time to have them removed in the public hospital system. On average, people
waited more than 125 days in the public system for a tonsillectomy in the 2019 financial year1.
The more cover you have, the less likely it is you’ll be caught out when you need to claim.
3. Get to know what’s in and out
Want to feel even more secure with your health cover decision? Want to find an option that covers what you need –
but not what you don’t?
Take the time to review your cover details.
By thoroughly reviewing your product sheet (a summary of what’s covered) you can avoid landing in a situation
where you’re not covered for what you thought. You can also avoid paying for stuff you don’t need.
A little research goes a long way.
4. Pick hospital insurance over extras
If you need to pick one of the two, hospital insurance is the way to go.
Hospital insurance is the one you need if you hope to avoid the Medicare Levy Surcharge (a tax) and Lifetime
Health Cover loading (which makes hospital insurance more expensive if you take it out later in life).
Hospital insurance also gives you the peace of mind that, if you need hospital treatment, you can skip the public
hospital waiting line by going to a private hospital instead.
Plus, Hospital insurance gives you more control over when you’re treated, so you can accommodate your other
commitments like work or holidays. You can also choose your own specialist.
With Extras insurance, it's worth considering if you regularly claim for things like glasses or dental check-ups,
because Medicare doesn’t cover anything towards those kinds of services.
5. Watch out for waiting periods
If you’re new to health insurance, you’ll generally have to serve a waiting period before you can claim.
A waiting period is a set amount of time during which you’re paying premiums but can’t make a claim.
They exist to stop people from signing up to health funds, claiming, and then leaving straight away—this kind of
behaviour drives up the cost of health insurance for other members of the health fund.
Waiting periods are standard across health funds. If you’re interested in finding out waiting periods for a
service you need, you can check them out here for Hospital services and here for Extras services.
The good news is, for things you might regularly claim—like glasses and standard dental check-ups—waiting periods
are normally just 2 months.
Bonus tip: If in doubt, reach out
Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone, or chat to us online if you need a hand—we’ll be happy to
help you understand which health insurance option is best for your needs.